Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) have withdrawn from bank accounts about Ksh44 million set aside for distribution as royalties to artistes.
This is according to the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), which says that the money was withdrawn against its directive.
“The licensed CMOs in the last three days withdrew from bank accounts about Kshs.44 million set aside for distribution as royalty in defiance of KECOBO licensing conditions and conservatory directives. The amount was transferred to accounts outside the oversight by KECOBO,” said KECOBO executive director Edward Sigei.
According to KECOBO, so far, none of the CMOs has commenced the process of distribution of royalties to musicians.
Currently, there are four CMOs in Kenya which include The Reproduction Rights Society of Kenya (KOPIKEN), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), and The Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRiSK).
This comes at a time war is raging between artistes, KECOBO and the CMOs over royalties, with artistes accusing KECOBO and CMOs of mismanagement and theft of royalties.
In the meantime, KECOBO last week filed a case at the High Court Constitutional Division for declaratory remedies and freezing of known accounts in which proceeds are being held.
Unfortunately, KECOBO did not obtain the necessary orders and the case will be going into full hearing in August 2021.
“The Board after observing noncompliance with License Conditions approved the commencement of the process of revocation of licenses of KAMP, PRISK and MCSK. This process is still underway. Other measures are being considered in line with the Copyright Act,” added KECOBO.
In the past, MCSK, KAMP and PRISK have been at loggerheads with artistes over disbursement royalties’ artistes claim are meagre.